Southeastern Section–56th Annual Meeting (29–30 March 2007)

Paper No. 11
Presentation Time: 4:40 PM


JONES, Tracy1, CHOV, Soeung2, COOK, Angela3, DORRIS, Keefer3 and SANKEY, Nicholas3, (1)Geology, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, 615 McCallie Ave., Dept 6556, Chattanooga, TN 37403, (2)Tyner High School, Chattanooga, 37403, (3)Tyner High School, Chattanooga, TN 37403,

In 2005, the geology program at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) received a grant from NSF to help increase diversity in the geosciences. This grant includes three components: marketing the geosciences to the general public through a newspaper insert, marketing the UTC program to prospective students through a new brochure and targeting high school student as prospective students through an after-school club at a predominantly minority high school. UTC partnered with the Hamilton County Department of Education and specially with Tyner Academy for the club called the Earth Explorers. The club was advertized in the first newspaper insert along with information about geoscience careers. This drew 9 students from Hamilton County and one from Dade County, Georgia, a neighboring county. Activities during the first year included trips to the Tennessee aquarium, a local commercial cave, planetarium, and a local creek for water quality analyses. Students were also taught how to use GPS units to locate the water sampling site. In the fall of 2006, a second newspaper insert introduced the general public to the local geology and showed activities from the previous year. Within the first week after this insert, the UTC Geology Department had received four requests for speakers and the attendance in the Earth Explorers increased to 26, including two new students from Dade County, Georgia. This year the students have heard talks from a paleontologist, environmental geologist, and an expert on local caves. They have been visited the cave, a local park to learn about GPS through Geocaching, and returned to the local stream for continued water quality analyses. So far, the students have enjoyed the cave trips the most. Other activities for this year include fossil hunting, a talk by an economic geologist with a visit to a local quarry, a local rock collecting trip, and working with GIS.